Suppression of Communism Act, 1950
|Suppression of Communism Act, 1950|
|Act to declare the Communist Party of South Africa to be an unlawful organization; to make provision for declaring other organizations promoting communistic activities to be unlawful and for prohibiting certain periodical or other publications; to prohibit certain communistic activities; and to make provision for other incidental matters.|
|Citation||Act No. 44 of 1950|
|Enacted by||Parliament of South Africa|
|Date of Royal Assent||26 June 1950|
|Date commenced||17 July 1950|
|Date repealed||2 July 1982|
|Administered by||Minister of Justice|
|Internal Security Act, 1982|
The Suppression of Communism Act 44 of 1950 (renamed in 1976 the Internal Security Act) was legislation of the national government in South Africa, passed on 26 June of that year (and coming into effect on 17 July), which formally banned the Communist Party of South Africa and proscribed any party or group subscribing to the ideology of Communism. The Act defined Communism as any scheme that aimed "at bringing about any political, industrial, social, or economic change within the Union by the promotion of disturbance or disorder" or that encouraged "feelings of hostility between the European and the non-European races of the Union the consequences of which are calculated to further..." disorder. The Minister of Justice had the power to issue an order which severely restricted the freedoms of anyone deemed to be a "Communist." The act was worded in such a way that any person could be barred from running for public office and attending public meetings, restricted from entering a specific portion of the country, or even jailed simply because the Minister of Justice deemed him to be a "Communist." 
The act defined Communism and its aims so sweepingly that anyone seeking to change a law could be considered a Communist. Since the act specifically stated that one of the aims of Communism was to stir up conflict between the races, it was frequently used to legally gag critics of racial segregation and apartheid. Communism was so broadly defined in the act that defendants were frequently convicted of "statutory Communism." Even judge Franz Rumpff stated during the trial of African National Congress (ANC) president James Moroka that "[the charge] has nothing to do with Communism as it is commonly known." Most of the Act was repealed in 1982 by the Internal Security Act No 74 and the remainder was repealed in 1991.
The Suppression of Communism Act was in large part due to the involvement of Communists in the anti-apartheid movement. The act facilitated the government take down of organizations such as the ANC and Pan Africanist Congress of Azania that advocated for black rights. The Suppression of Communism Act forced these groups to go underground with their activism. Ironically, because of this act, groups such as Umkhonto we Sizwe, led by Nelson Mandela as a branch of the ANC, did seek support from the Communist party for financial aid.
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